I’m sure everyone knows (or has at least heard of) the Sailor Moon dub and how it edited out a lot of content for America/western audiences. For those who don’t, here’s a history lesson.
Back in the 90s anime had begun to really pop in America, thanks to shows like: Pokemon, Cardcaptor Sakura (renamed Cardcaptors cause girls don’t sell amirite?), Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon along with many others. During this time these shows were heavily edited, names and locations were changed to appear more western/america, context, violence, storylines, you name it. Usagi became Serena, blood was replaced with spit or completely edited out, Sanji’s cigarette became a lollipop, and anything even remotely sexual magically disappeared.
Sakura and Syaoran’s epic romance in CCS was nonexistent but then again I guess romance between SaKOOra Avalon and SHOWran Lee (was he even still chinese in the dub I think they made him from like, Wisconsin or something who knows) was less interesting and epic their their original non-dub counterparts.
Needless to say 90s anime underwent a lot of cuts, in the specific cases of CCS and Sailor Moon companies also edited out any queer context. Anyone who’s read the original CCS manga or watched the subs knows Touya (Sakura’s older brother), and his best friend and Sakura’s one time crush, Yukito, were in big gay love for each other. For reals. Anyone who watched the DUB of Sailor Moon knew there was something up with Uranus and Neptune even though the DUB tried it’s damnedest to erase their lesbian relationship. By making them cousins. Cause that’s how all cousins act. I guess Sailor Moon was set in Virginia.
But that was the 90s you say, times have changed! Well I would certainly hope so, but I can certainly tell you it hasn’t. Sure maybe dubs aren’t AS bad as they once were, and content isn’t being edited as heavily. However the fandoms surrounding these shows are just as bad as the original company who dubbed Sailor Moon back in the 90s.
Case in point, everyone and their mother’s uncle’s second cousin’s twin twice removed has at least HEARD of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s one of the biggest animes pretty much ever and Gainax never wants to let you forget it. If you’re on tumblr nowadays and still even moderately follow anime, you’ve heard of Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin, and if you dabble in rare but still popular anime you might have heard of No.6.
These three shows are the most common ones I see for “cousin pulling” from the fandoms. Kaworu and Shinji are just bros, Ymir only likes Christa as a friend, Nezumi and Sion are like brothers, etc, etc.
Nevermind the fact that Kaworu and Shinji admitted to being in love with each other (at separate points) in the same episode. Or the fact that in damn near every adaption of NGE Kaworu and Shinji have always had romantic undertones or just straight up romantic text in their relationship. Let’s also ignore the fact that Ymir has only shown care, interest, and tender feelings towards Christa and the official website has it stated that Ymir is in love with Christa. Nevermind that it’s stated pretty darn clearly in the manga about Ymir and Reiners’ sexualities. Furthermore lets also completely ignore that Shion and Nezumi proclaim how much they care and need each other, Shion having the very cliched reaction of going killer dead-eyed crazy when Nezumi gets hurt, the two danced to a sunset backdrop, and kissed. Twice.
And yet this is all just “good friend” behavior? What’s wrong with having actual queer characters in our mainstream fictional media? Nothing about any of this screams “friends” to me. For the people who keep claiming it, it only reminds me of the Sailor Moon dub and how ridiculous it was that Haruka and Michiru were “cousins”. It makes no sense based on the actual canon given and presented to me as an audience member. As someone who is queer I enjoy seeing more queer characters in my media especially a media I actively enjoy (like anime). So erasing these characters sexualities and relationships is just a source of endless frustration for me as an individual person and as a fan.
It seems like people in fandom are saying, “you can have your yaoi and yuri, but keep it out of REAL anime”. Sorry if I don’t want to be regulated to the corner with scraps, especially when creators are trying to give me a steak dinner and others insistent on trying to call it a Mcdonalds burger.
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